Case of whooping cough confirmed; here’s what to do at Wayne College


To students, faculty and staff,

We have been notified that a student at our Wayne College campus has been diagnosed with whooping cough (pertussis).

The student is taking antibiotics, recuperating at home, and will be able to return to class only after health professionals conclude that the student is no longer contagious.

The student was not taking any classes at the Main Campus.

What is whooping cough (pertussis)?

Pertussis is an infection that affects the airways and is easily spread from person to person by coughing or sneezing. Its severe cough can last for weeks or months, sometimes leading to coughing fits and/or vomiting. Anyone can get pertussis, but it can be very dangerous for infants and people with weakened immune systems. Family members with pertussis, especially mothers, can spread pertussis to newborns.

What should you do?

No other cases of pertussis have been diagnosed at Wayne or at any of our other sites.

Nevertheless, I recommend that students and employees check their immunization statuses.

In the recent weeks, several outbreaks of illness have been reported across the nation; most are controlled well by getting the recommended vaccines.

Recommendations for Wayne College students:

  • If you have a cough:
    • Stay home from class. See items 4 and 5 about when you can return to these activities.
    • Make an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible and tell the doctor that you may have been exposed to pertussis.
  • If you have been told by a doctor that you have a weakened immune system, ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics for you as soon as possible to prevent pertussis. Antibiotics should be given to someone with a weakened immune system if they may have been exposed to pertussis, even if he or she is not coughing.
  • If you live with any of the following people and may have been exposed to pertussis, ask your doctor to prescribe antibiotics as soon as possible to you, even if you are not coughing:
    • a woman who is pregnant,
    • an infant younger than 12 months old, or
    • anyone with a weakened immune system.
  • If you have been diagnosed with pertussis by your doctor:
    • Tell UA that you have been diagnosed with pertussis.
    • We will request that you stay home from school and activities, such as sports, until you have been on antibiotics for five days to treat pertussis.
    • Ask your doctor for a note that states you have pertussis.
  • If you have a cough and your doctor says you do NOT have pertussis:
    • Ask for a note from the doctor telling us that your cough is NOT pertussis and that you can return to UA and other activities at any time.

Recommendations for all University of Akron students, faculty and staff:

Please make sure vaccinations are up-to-date. Protection against pertussis from the childhood vaccine, DTaP, decreases over time. Older children and adults, including pregnant women, should get a pertussis booster shot called “Tdap” to protect themselves and infants near or around them.

If you need the Tdap or any other vaccines, there are several ways you can do this. If you can access Student Health Services on the Main Campus, we would be happy to provide this for you. You can also contact your doctor, the Wayne County Health Department at 330-264-9590 or the Summit County Health District at 330-923-4891, to find a vaccine provider near you.

If you have any questions or concerns, please call Student Health Services at 330-972-7808. And please remember that Student Health Services is available to address many of your health and wellness needs.


Alma Olson, CNP, FNP
Director of Student Health Services
University of Akron